Reviews, Then and Now

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare City of Bones (Mortal Instruments) (9781416914280): Clare,  Cassandra: Books

This book review is part of our then and now series, where we revisit books that we enjoyed in the past.

City of Bones is the first book in Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. It was also her first published book and the introduction to the Shadowhunter world. Clare is now one of the best known YA authors!

Christy and Clare first read this series years ago. We cannot remember the exact year, but it has been a while since we were introduced to this urban fantasy series. 

Clary Fray’s life was normal. She lived in Brooklyn with her mom and spent most of time with her best friend Simon Lewis. One night Clary and Simon go to an all ages night at the Pandemonium club. Suddenly, Clary sees three teenagers dressed in black with strange markings all over their bodies. She follows them and sees them try to kill someone. Only, nobody else can see them.

The tall blonde guy, Jace, seemed surprised that Clary could see him and informed her that the guy he’s trying to kill is really a demon.

After Clary leaves, she’s confused over everything she saw. After all, Simon doesn’t believe her. The next day, Jace comes back into her life after an attack leaves her unconscious. Her mother Jocelyn is missing and Clary’s world turns upside down.

As Jace says, “All the stories are true.” Clary is on a mission to save her mom and with the help of Simon, Jace and his friends Alec and Isabelle. She’s drawn into the world of shadowhunters and learns of warlocks, demons, vampires, fae and lycanthrope. But what does the fate of shadowhunters have to do with an ordinary teenager?


Clare’s world building had us hooked from the first page. She paints a picture of the shadowhunter and downworlder sides of New York City. This book started our obsession with Clare’s writing. Since then we’ve read every single book in the shadowhunter world.

We loved Jace from the beginning and shipped him with Clary. While Clare throws obstacles in their way, we knew they were meant to be. Jace is swoon-worthy and has the best lines in the books. He’s the needed comic relief. But, he’d also do anything to protect those he loves. 

Honestly, we loved all the characters. Simon did annoy us at times, but we forgave him! This is also the introduction to Magnus Bane, the only character who’s present in every shadowhunter book. He’s also one of our favorites and throws some badass parties.

Overall, this book had us super excited to see what would happen next to the gang.


We couldn’t believe how much we forgot about City of Bones. We remembered all the key plot points. However, some of the smaller scenes slipped our mind. Clare had us laughing and on the edge of our seats. 

Clary and Jace are still one of the best couples in YA. Without spoiling too much for those who haven’t picked up this series yet, just know Jace’s wit is only matched by Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices. Jace fell for Clary immediately, which causes problems with Simon.

Clary’s a bit reckless, but her best characteristic is that she will do whatever it takes to save her mom. Even though this book takes place only over the span of two weeks, she goes through a lot of growth. Who would of thought that she could fight demons and outsmart the shadowhunters.

While the characters are amazing, the plot is the highlight. Clare carefully created this world and paced pieces of the back story in order for the reader to guess who is behind all of the violence. The end will have you shocked when Clary has to face the last person she’d ever expect. 

There’s no dull moment in this book. Clary and her friends bounce from action to action. From dealing with angry vampires to outsmarting the Clave, they don’t get a break. Plus, you’ll never guess how all of these characters are connected. Just know that a lot happened before the gang was born that led them to this place.

There’s nothing better than revisiting familiar worlds and reliving our favorite scenes. City of Bones will always be one of our favorites.

Final Verdict

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ both then and now. After finishing this one, we need to pick up City of Ashes to continue Clary’s journey. Trust us, you won’t want to miss what happens next! There are six books in The Mortal Instruments series.

29 thoughts on “Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare”

  1. In high school, I gave this book a try. It scared the daylights out of me. I didn’t (and still don’t) enjoy books with demonic creatures. I saw the movie and watched a decent amount of the TV show and also felt scared and disappointed. However… it’s been nearly 10 years since the first time I tried to read it? I recently finished The Infernal Devices and I have a strong desire to at least attempt The Mortal Instruments now since I enjoyed TID so much. It was fun to see what you thought of it then in comparison to now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I took a break after the third book in 2014 because Sebastian was A LOT to handle lol. I recently just watched the City of Bones movie; idc what anyone says, that movie is my weakness lol!

    I need to finish this series so I can start on TIF and the ones after!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of a Then and Now series. I re-read these last year and, like you, was really surprised how much I’d forgotten and how much I still enjoyed them. You worry that you’ve put it on a pedestal a bit but they’re so much fun for sure. Hope you enjoy the rest of the series as much this time around.

    Liked by 1 person

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